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Designer Spotlight: Kevin O'Brien Studio

  • by Melanie Viaje
  • 4 min read

It's only fitting that Kevin O'Brien's South Philadelphia textile studio should be housed in an old movie theater. Like a great movie, Kevin's hand-painted fabric creations are dazzling works of art spun from imagination, hard work, and talent.

Anyone entering the light-filled space is in for a treat; visitors are greeted by a dazzling array of color and texture as they take in the expansive collection of handmade decorative pillows, throw blankets, and fabrics done in signature dip dyed silk velvet. Designed with a dramatic brushstroke or a playful pattern, these flagship products make for a sensory bouquet destined to be admired, touched, and taken home. It's no mystery why Kevin O'Brien's work has captured the attention of interior designers, home furnishings tastemakers, and industry innovators like Mary Babinski, Founder of Fine Linen and Bath.

"I'll never forget seeing Kevin's work for the first time at the NYNOW Show," said Mary. "I walked up to his booth of beautiful pillows and said to myself, ‘Wow! Now what do we have here?' and it was love at first sight. I was so impressed by Kevin's artistry and the versatility of his work. There were so many gorgeous pillows displayed and I just wanted to touch them all. One was more stunning than the next. That's when I knew we had to carry his line at Fine Linen and Bath."


Kevin O'Brien and Mary Babinski among his collection at NYNow in 2017.
Kevin O'Brien and Mary Babinski among his collection at NYNow in 2017.

A Textile Design Company That Began With A Scarf

A fine artist by training, Kevin got his start in the luxury fashion world selling hand-painted scarves. As a painter, his goals are to add beauty to the world and meaning to his own life. Kevin's belief that "with beauty and meaning, inspiration comes naturally, often, and from everywhere," made it natural to transition from traditional painting to textiles.

The company's origins are humble; it began with Kevin, some fabric, and a barn outside of Philadelphia that served as his workspace. As demand for his hand-painted scarves grew, Kevin moved his production studio to a loft and, finally, to its permanent home in the renovated South Philly movie theater. Along the way, he expanded his staff to include a team of artisans capable of designing, painting, dyeing and sewing fabrics all under one roof. It is a point of pride for Kevin and his team to design and produce many products entirely in the USA. Kevin has also set up a small studio in Kathmandu, Nepal, where he works with local artisans to produce unique embroidered and woven items.

Unique Artistry and Signature Technique

The meticulous process of dip dying makes every Kevin O'Brien design a piece of original artwork. These silk velvet creations are known for their rich tones, statement patterns, and softness to the touch. We are delighted to share a few of our own favorite pillow styles with you.

Kevin O'Brien Studio Brushstroke Silk Velvet Collection Art comes to life! This energetic brush stroke design adds dynamic, effortless artistry to any room in a palette of colors from subtle to bold.

The Kevin O'Brien Studio Brushstroke Silk Velvet Collection

Kevin O'Brien Studio Metallic Willow Velvet Collection. Take a walk in the woods! This whimsical, elegant foliage pattern adds a touch of magic to any room, while the metallic pigment print brings new dimension to the lustrous velvet background.

The Kevin O'Brien Studio Metallic Willow Velvet Collection

Kevin O'Brien Studio Snakeskin Silk Velvet Collection Iconic, beautiful, with just a little bit of danger...this embossed reptilian print brings a jeweled glimmer you can't help but touch.

The Kevin O'Brien Studio Snakeskin Silk Velvet Collection

Kevin O'Brien Studio Brocade Silk Velvet Decorative Pillows Even a classic deserves an upgrade. This bold pillow couples a quintessential damask design with luxe velvet for a lavish addition to any interior.

The Kevin O'Brien Studio Brocade Silk Velvet Decorative Pillows

Kevin O'Brien Studio Small Moroccan Silk Velvet Decorative PillowsCapture the warmth and beauty of the North African sun. Inspired by Moroccan tile work, this repeating pattern brightens any space in bold, bohemian colors.

The Kevin O'Brien Studio Small Moroccan Silk Velvet Decorative Pillows

Kevin O'Brien Studio Ombre Silk Velvet CollectionOoh la la! Saturated with rich hues, this silk velvet pillow boasts a striking iridescent sheen. It's painted by hand in overlapping colors to achieve a unique ombre look that absolutely glows...and it feels every bit as beautiful as it looks.

The Kevin O’Brien Studio Ombre Silk Velvet Collection

Kevin O'Brien Studio Woodgrain Silk Velvet Collection. Wood never looked so good! Bring the artistry of nature inside with luxury and style. This stunning collection features thin lines of silk etched into painted velvet in a wood grain pattern.

The Kevin O’Brien Studio Woodgrain Silk Velvet Collection

Kevin O'Brien Studio Dots Silk Velvet Collection. A pillow great enough for Gatsby himself! Capture the glamour of the roaring ‘20s with this deco-inspired polka dot pattern. Subtle texture makes a beautiful accent to the lustrous silk velvet ground in a dozen dazzling color options.

 The Kevin O’Brien Studio Dots Silk Velvet Collection

International Acclaim, Philadelphia Roots

Kevin O'Brien's unique designs have garnered praise and attention throughout the industry. In addition to being a major presence at international furniture markets and design shows, Kevin O'Brien Studio has been featured in leading industry and consumer publications such as Elle Décor, Metropolitan Home, InStyle, and Home Textiles Today. For all the accolades and attention, the company remains firmly anchored to its Philadelphia roots, with a strong community presence and a commitment to recruiting artisans from area art schools and colleges.

Discovering the World of Kevin O'Brien Studio

With the many breathtaking options from Kevin O'Brien Studio, even professional designers can find it difficult to make a final decision on the perfect pillow or throw. This is where the Fine Linen and Bath design team happily steps in to help.

"We love receiving calls from clients asking for help with Kevin's collection," Mary Babinski said. "It gives us the opportunity to take a deep dive into all that rich color, texture, and pattern. It's really one of our favorite pastimes."

Fine Linen and Bath can also offer sample swatches that allow clients to see exact material prior to purchase. To learn more, and to see pillows, throws, bedding, and blankets from Kevin O'Brien Studio, visit the collection at Fine Linen and Bath. 

Kevin O’Brien and team hard at work in their Philadelphia studio

Kevin O'Brien and team hard at work in their Philadelphia studio

Kevin O’Brien touching the rich texture of dyed velvet

The rich texture of dyed velvet is a delight to the senses.

 Kevin O’Brien making textiles by hand

Making textiles by hand in Philadelphia for more than 20 years. (Photos courtesy of Kevin O'Brien Studios)

Fine Linen and Bath: An In-Store Shopping Experience Delivered to You Online 

At Fine Linen and Bath, our mission is to deliver a concierge luxury linen shopping experience with online convenience. Browse our website to access an expansive collection of bedding, bath, table linens, and accessories from the world's premier brands.

When you need answers, consultation, or help to narrow your choices, our team of expert design consultants is here to assist you. We offer individualized recommendations, personal consultation, and even complimentary swatch samples for your review. We'll help you make the right buying decisions for your style, budget, and design goals.

Please connect with us online or -- even better -- give us a call at (866) 352-4522. We'd love to get to know you!